A Straightforward Method for 3D Visualization of B Cell Clusters and High Endothelial Venules in Lymph Nodes Highlights Differential Roles of TNFRI and -II

Kim C.M. Jeucken, Jasper J. Koning, Jan Piet van Hamburg, Reina E. Mebius, Sander W. Tas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Whole mount tissue immunolabeling and imaging of complete organs has tremendous benefits in characterizing organ morphology. Here, we present a straightforward method for immunostaining, clearing and imaging of whole murine peripheral lymph nodes (PLNs) for detailed analysis of their architecture and discuss all procedures in detail in a step-by-step approach. Given the importance of tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) signaling in development of PLNs we used TNFRI-/- and TNFRII-/- mice models as proof-of-concept for this technique by visualizing and analyzing structural changes in PLN B cell clusters and high endothelial venules (HEVs). Samples were subjected to de- and rehydration with methanol, labeled with antibodies for B cells, T cells and high endothelial venules (HEVs) and optically cleared using benzyl alcohol-benzyl benzoate. Imaging was done using LaVision light sheet microscope and analysis with Imaris software. Using these techniques, we confirmed previous findings that TNFRI signaling is essential for formation of individual B cell clusters. In addition, Our data suggest that TNFRII signaling is also to some extent involved in this process as TNFRII-/- PLNs had a B cell cluster morphology reminiscent of TNFRI-/- PLNs. Moreover, visualization and objective quantification of the complete PLN high endothelial vasculature unveiled reduced volume, length and branching points of HEVs in TNFRI-/- PLNs, revealing an earlier unrecognized contribution of TNFRI signaling in HEV morphology. Together, these results underline the potential of whole mount tissue staining and advanced imaging techniques to unravel even subtle changes in lymphoid tissue architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number699336
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2021

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